English as a second language.

  1. Hi. I am a nursing student in second year. I came here 15 yrs ago. Spanish is my native language. I know English, but I have a strong accent. I am doing good in school and clinicals. However, a medsurg nurse told my instructor that I have issues with pronunciation and that makes me less competent as a nurse. My instructor got into an argument with her about me. I cried because I really try to do my best in school. I feel depressed and so insecure now. I need to grow thicker skin.

    The nurse was so friendly with me. However, she turned out to be so hipocrite. I haven't work with her, and she just decided to tell my instructor that about me. I understand that sometimes I have a hard time pronouncing medication names and medical terms. But, she doesn't know me enough to make that statement. How can I improve my pronunciation? Thank you!
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  2. 72 Comments

  3. by   Agatha12
    You can improve by signing up for English lessons. This nurse is a real jerk. I had similar situation when a nurse told me that my English was very poor. This nurse happened to be foreigner as well and in addition from my country. No native speaker ever complained about my language skills. Just dont worry I am sure your language skills are fine
  4. by   cleback
    People have varying abilities to understand accents but that makes you no less competent. She's a jerk. You'll be in high demand as a bilingual nurse.
  5. by   KatieMI
    I am foreign-born and speak with a strong accent, too. I was treated very badly because of that many times. Unfortunately, language discrimination, just as plain good 'old rasism, can be a reality among nurses.

    No one, ever, has right to make conclusion about your ability as a professional because of your accent. Refuse placement with this so-called "nurse" in the future. If necessary, speak with your Dean ASAP. You have right to demand other placement if you feel discriminated against. Do not spend money on "accent reduction" - nobody in the right mind would recommend that denigrating and humiliating "education" for someone born in Tupelo, Mississippi and moving to Boston, MA, so you shouldn't do it, too.

    For your future job search, seek places where there are other foreign-born or Spanish-speaking nurses or choose facilities which serve a lot of Spanish-speaking patients. You'll be in high demand there. Best of luck!
  6. by   applewhitern
    WOW. That med-surg nurse shouldn't ever work in a teaching hospital, because English is definitely a second language in the one I worked in!
  7. by   brownbook
    Quote from KatieMI
    I am foreign-born and speak with a strong accent, too. I was treated very badly because of that many times. Unfortunately, language discrimination, just as plain good 'old rasism, can be a reality among nurses.

    No one, ever, has right to make conclusion about your ability as a professional because of your accent. Refuse placement with this so-called "nurse" in the future. If necessary, speak with your Dean ASAP. You have right to demand other placement if you feel discriminated against. Do not spend money on "accent reduction" - nobody in the right mind would recommend that denigrating and humiliating "education" for someone born in Tupelo, Mississippi and moving to Boston, MA, so you shouldn't do it, too.

    For your future job search, seek places where there are other foreign-born or Spanish-speaking nurses or choose facilities which serve a lot of Spanish-speaking patients. You'll be in high demand there. Best of luck!
    I agree that nurse was horrible and wrong.

    I am proud of my limited ability to speak Spanish. My Anglo husband was raised in a small farming area and exposed to Spanish as a child. He took classes as an adult and is bilingual.

    If I moved to a Spanish speaking country would it be hulilitating, discrimination, etc, for me to have to take an "accent reduction" class to improve my Spanish?

    I am hard of hearing. I know how serious problems can arise from "a failure to communicate".

    I'm not saying it's mandatory she work on improving her English pronunciation. I don't even buy that it was a problem except for that one nurse.

    I always ask my Spanish speaking patients and friends to correct my pronunciation. But to turn it into a "not politically correct" issue is going way over board.
  8. by   lhflanurseNP
    Classes can help, but are often expensive. When I was young, I was "forced" to learn English at a fast pace in order to avoid getting into fights that I did not provoke other than they could not "understand" me. To combat this, my parents encouraged only English and I recall we would practice pronouncing a word according to the dictionary's description (before we had voice dictionaries). I am told now that I rarely have an accent unless I have spent time talking in my native language for a spell. Good luck! Either way, if you try speaking slowly and clearly, most people will be able to understand you just fine. It is the most important thing that your patients can understand you.
  9. by   KatieMI
    Quote from brownbook
    I agree that nurse was horrible and wrong.

    I am proud of my limited ability to speak Spanish. My Anglo husband was raised in a small farming area and exposed to Spanish as a child. He took classes as an adult and is bilingual.

    If I moved to a Spanish speaking country would it be hulilitating, discrimination, etc, for me to have to take an "accent reduction" class to improve my Spanish?

    I am hard of hearing. I know how serious problems can arise from "a failure to communicate".

    I'm not saying it's mandatory she work on improving her English pronunciation. I don't even buy that it was a problem except for that one nurse.

    I always ask my Spanish speaking patients and friends to correct my pronunciation. But to turn it into a "not politically correct" issue is going way over board.
    Unfortunately, it is not "going over board".

    Long ago, people were shamed and being forced to apologize for being born females, for having dark skin and for going into different church. Now we understand that as something not to be proud of. Language and accent is just the same part of personality - how comes that someone might be shamed for that? Part of my accent is result of having trache once, which added to my voice being permanently changed - should I also be shamed for that part of my life if it happens to "discomfort our customers"? Why a nurse who moved from Deep South to Boston would never, ever, offered any "accent reduction", and I might?

    It is named "language discrimination", and I hope that within next 30 years or so it will become as acceptable as "n" word.
  10. by   Crush
    Quote from KatieMI
    I am foreign-born and speak with a strong accent, too. I was treated very badly because of that many times. Unfortunately, language discrimination, just as plain good 'old rasism, can be a reality among nurses.

    No one, ever, has right to make conclusion about your ability as a professional because of your accent. Refuse placement with this so-called "nurse" in the future. If necessary, speak with your Dean ASAP. You have right to demand other placement if you feel discriminated against. Do not spend money on "accent reduction" - nobody in the right mind would recommend that denigrating and humiliating "education" for someone born in Tupelo, Mississippi and moving to Boston, MA, so you shouldn't do it, too.

    For your future job search, seek places where there are other foreign-born or Spanish-speaking nurses or choose facilities which serve a lot of Spanish-speaking patients. You'll be in high demand there. Best of luck!
    Well said KatieMI. That nurse was mean and your accent does have any bearing on whether you are competent or not. Sorry to hear that happened to you.
  11. by   brownbook
    Thanks for educating me. Until now I had never heard of language discrimination.
    Last edit by brownbook on Nov 24
  12. by   brownbook
    Quote from KatieMI
    Unfortunately, it is not "going over board".

    Long ago, people were shamed and being forced to apologize for being born females, for having dark skin and for going into different church. Now we understand that as something not to be proud of. Language and accent is just the same part of personality - how comes that someone might be shamed for that? Part of my accent is result of having trache once, which added to my voice being permanently changed - should I also be shamed for that part of my life if it happens to "discomfort our customers"? Why a nurse who moved from Deep South to Boston would never, ever, offered any "accent reduction", and I might?

    It is named "language discrimination", and I hope that within next 30 years or so it will become as acceptable as "n" word.
    Thank you for educating me. I have never heard of language discrimination. I wasn't aware it had been an issue.
  13. by   Agatha12
    Quote from brownbook
    Thanks for educating me. Until now I had never heard of language discrimination.

    If I cannot understand my doctor or nurse due to an accent or manner of speech what should I do?
    It depends. If you are the only one who does not understand then you should work on your listening skills.
  14. by   brownbook
    Quote from Agatha12
    It depends. If you are the only one who does not understand then you should work on your listening skills.
    Thank you I will strive to work on my listening skills.

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